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Learning safety lessons from past aviation accidents

For many residents in Montana, flying to a domestic or international destination is an exciting event. While some individuals maintain a general fear of flying, others realize that it is an effective and quick way to get to faraway places. Although flying is considered a rather safe mode of transportation, it is subject to some safety concerns that could result in an aviation accident.

When it comes to international and domestic commercial air travel, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) claims that it has reached safety and convenience levels that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. And by keeping recent airplane accident in mind, the FAA seeks to continue to learn lessons from accidents so they can continue the process of improving aviation safety.

The first thing to consider when addressing current and future safety concerns is the airplane life cycle. This means looking at the manufacturing phase, operation phase and the maintenance, repair and alteration phase. Looking at these three major phases allows the FAA to consider all steps and stages in these phases and the entire life cycle. This helps identify potential accident threats or causes of accidents.

Next, the FAA divided accident threats into categories or groupings. This helps indicate areas where more attention needs to be placed when making safety improvements or passing new policies. This could include categories such as structural failure, bird hazards, fuel tank ignition, landing and takeoff excursions, incorrect piloting techniques or inclement weather.

Lastly, when seeking to learn lessons from past aviation accidents, the FAA considers common accident themes. These include flawed assumptions, human error, organizational lapses, pre-existing failures and unintended effects. Applying these themes across the entire spectrum of aviation accidents helps provide insight and relationships.

Whether there was a loss of control or pilot error, it is important to consider all the factors that led to an airplane crash. A full investigation could uncover all the causes, helping to improve the safety of airplane and reduce or prevent future similar incidents. Additionally, those harmed in a plane accident should understand what recourses are available to them, helping individuals collect compensation for their injuries, damages and losses.

Source: faa.gov, "Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents," accessed Jan. 4, 2016

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